These unusual buildings played an important role in Victorian times. They were built in the 1850s and 60s to transfer coal from rail wagons to road carts. The brick and cast iron structure originally carried four high-level railway tracks, from which wagons dropped coal into storage hoppers. From here the coal was loaded onto horse-drawn carts at ground level.
The coal drops were used to store goods for most of the 20th century. By the 1990s however, they were being used as workshops, studios and night clubs.
The Coal Drops are currently being restored and will become a unique new retail quarter – Coal Drops Yard. In a design by Heatherwick Studio, the area will be free from traffic and buzzing with street life. The Victorian brick arches will house quirky boutiques, restaurants, galleries, music venues and more, while the cobbled streets will play host to markets and street festivals.